If you’ve been more tired than normal, maybe have a nagging headache, wake up at night with leg cramps, feel a little dizzy – there’s a good chance you are dehydrated. There are some things you can do prior to outdoor physical activity, to try and prevent dehydration:

  • Drink 2, 8 oz. glasses of water first thing when you wake up!
  • Try to drink 2 to 3 more glasses of water prior to playing.
  • Sports drinks help replace lost electrolytes like sodium and potassium (the cause of those pesky muscle cramps). If you don’t like the drinks, there are edible goodies for electrolyte replacement.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables – they are not only rich in nutrients, but they also have a high water content. Oranges are great to grab and eat on your way to the courts!
  • Know common signs of heat exhaustion:
    • *Dizzy, light headed
    • *Flushed skin
    • *Headache
    • *Weakness
    • *Nausea
    • *Confusion

These symptoms are early signs of heat exhaustion. Stop and get off the court immediately! Cool down, hydrate and rest, and you have an excellent chance of recovering in 15 to 20 minutes (NOOOO, that does NOT mean you’ll be ready to get back on the pickleball court!!). If you do not address the issue quickly, you can easily end up with heat stroke, at which point you will require medical intervention.

To assist a person experiencing heat exhaustion:

  • ++Apply ice to neck and groin – the carotid and femoral arteries are the
    • largest arteries and move the most blood.
      • By icing in these areas, you will help cool down the blood as it circulates through the body.
    • ++Encourage them to drink fluids, even if they feel nauseous. Fluid replacement is essential!
    • ++If possible, move them to a cool area.
      • At the Rymer Pickleball Complex, the bathrooms are air conditioned. Take them there, where their body will have a chance to cool down.

Most people suffering from heat exhaustion should feel somewhat better within 10 to 15 minutes – not ready for Pickleball – but able to walk to a car. It is always a good idea to discourage driving after a heat related incident.


On a daily basis, know how much fluid your body needs. A basic equation for finding out how much fluid you should be drinking is to divide your body weight by 2, and drink that much water! For example, a 150 lb.person would need 150/2 = 75 ounces of water per day, which is about nine, 8 oz. cups!

What does water do for your body?

“Between about 55% to 78% of your body is made of water. Newborn babies are about 78% water, a year-old baby is 65%, adult men are about 60% and adult women are about 55%. Your brain is made up of 73% water, and so is your heart. Your bones are 31% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% and your skin is 64%. A whopping 83% of water makes up your lungs.

Water helps:

  • Aid digestion and get rid of waste.
  • Work your joints. Water lubricates them.
  • Make saliva (which you need to eat).
  • Balance your body’s chemicals. Your brain needs it to create hormones and neurotransmitters.
  • Deliver oxygen all over your body.
  • Cushion your bones.
  • Regulate your body temperature.
  • Act as a shock absorber for your brain and your spinal cord.

Water is important to your body, especially in warm weather. It keeps your body from overheating. When you exercise, your muscles generate heat. To keep from burning up, your body needs to get rid of that heat. The main way the body discards heat in warm weather is through sweat. As sweat evaporates, it cools the tissues beneath. Lots of sweating reduces the body’s water level, and this loss of fluid affects normal bodily functions.” From the Cleveland Clinic


Submitted by Deb Chiarello, VP SJPA